It's All in a Day's Work

Chemistry Professor to Run a 33-Mile Race, then cheer on the Titans at the Super Regionals

June 8, 2007

By Russ Hudson

Chemistry professor Scott Hewitt runs for exercise, fun and as a way to inspire his college students. He’s also an ardent Titan sports fan.

This Sunday, he will be running quite a lot as he competes in a 33-mile race in Big Bear — wearing one blue and one orange gaiter in support of CSUF — before he dashes home to catch the Titans as they compete in the baseball Super Regionals at 7 p.m. on Goodwin Field.

Cal State Fullerton hosts UCLA for the best two-out-of-three, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9, with a third game slated for Monday, June 11, if necessary. The winner will be a giant step closer to the College World Series.

“It's my first ultra race in two years,” Hewitt said. “It is the Holcomb Valley Trail Run, in the mountains just north of Big Bear. The one-blue, one-orange gaiter — the Titan colors — are my signature. Gaiters keep pebbles out of my shoes because they cover the tops of my shoes and my ankles.”

Most runners would be thinking about finishing such a grueling run and, if confident, doing well enough to be taken seriously. Only the really, really good runners will be there to win.

Veteran ultra runner Hewitt’s take on the race? “It is a beautiful high-altitude course, with views of Big Bear Lake, the mountains north of Big Bear, and the forests, meadows and mines north of Big Bear.”

Hewitt has earned the right to be relaxed about such competitions. He isn’t even supposed to be able to run at all, something he uses to inspire his students.

If his students seem to be lagging in mid-semester, they will come in one day and on the board will be a list of infirmities: mitral valve prolapse [a leaky heart valve], asthma, hereditary fructose intolerance, hypoglycemia [the need to eat frequent snacks to maintain proper blood sugar levels], a past serious knee injury, a past serious back injury and overpronation [the foot rotates too far when shifting weight during a stride]. The students will see that and conclude that this is certainly no athlete.

But it is — it's Scott Hewitt.

A doctor told him he would never run again. But to the chemist, that was a detail. Hewitt loved to run, so his response was to get to work. Now he has reached the point that ultra runs — runs longer than a marathon, and usually through rugged terrain at high altitude — are his favorite. The students get the point: If he can overcome odds to run again, they can overcome intellectual fatigue for a strong finish in his chemistry course.

Perhaps his conquering-the-odds attitude and staunch Titan fandom will send good vibrations to the Titan players Sunday. Don’t tell Hewitt, but even though navy blue and orange are on the Cal State Fullerton logo, the real school colors are navy blue and white. To him, that’s just another detail.

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